Just for fun … :-)

Phyllis Down the Drain
by Debi Taylor-Hough

When Rob’s mother died, I had mixed feelings.  Phyllis and I had a flimsy, at best, relationship.  The only thing we shared in common was our love for Rob.  My love for him was the romantic and strong love of a spouse for a partner in both life and parenting.  Phyllis loved the man we shared fiercely, possessively, proudly—as only the mother of an only son can really love.  Now, all that was left of Phyllis and her love was hidden away in the blue and white ceramic urn on our mantle, awaiting inurnment at Hebron Cemetery next month.  Suddenly my teenage daughter’s voice broke into my quiet reflections about different types of love and the ceramic death decoration now on display in my living room.

“Hey, Mom!  The cat just sprayed Grandma’s urn!”

What?  I ran into the living room in time to see our orange tabby, Mister, jump down from the mantle and slink guiltily into the kitchen.  Sure enough, the telltale odor of a male cat marking his territory was coming from Grandma’s direction.

“Stupid cat.”  I headed after Mister to grab a rag.  “You never did like Phyllis very much, did you, Mister?  Why you decide to claim her as your personal property now that she’s in a jar … geez.” Mister sulked under the table, looking like he expected me to scold him further or toss him outside.  “Oh, whatever.  Just sit there and feel guilty, you stinky fur-bucket.”

The rag proved ineffective.  The cat stench was overpowering, so I carried Phyllis and her urn-home into the kitchen to rinse off in the sink.  Warm water and a sink full of suds always makes me feel chatty.  So I decided to have a final chat with my mother-in-law.

“Well, Phyllis, here we are, again.  You in your prim-and-proper ceramic urn and me in my sweatpants and t-shirt.  You never particularly liked that stupid cat, did you?  For that matter, you never liked me much, either.  I was just Rob’s wife.  The woman who bore his children.  The continual disappointment.  The never-good-enough housekeeper.  But here I am, cleaning your urn.  You probably thought I’d just let you sit in cat pee.  Maybe I should.  But I love Rob so I’ll clean you.  And despite our problems, I guess I loved you, too.”

I had to chuckle at the thought of Phyllis watching me carefully rinsing off her urn.   She would’ve been standing with hands on hips, telling me which was the correct temperature water to use, which detergent would be gentle yet effective on the now-defiled urn, and “By all means, Dear, be careful not to jostle the lid because it might come loose and then …”

“Holy crap!”  The lid came loose and Phyllis’ ashes dumped out in the sink.

“Mom, are you okay?  What’s going on?”  My daughter ran into the room breathlessly, and stood, mouth agape, taking in the scene — her wild-eyed mother standing over an open urn with what looked like ashes in the sink. Ashes?  “Oh, Mom.  Geez.  Seriously?  You dumped out Grandma?”

“Oh, hush!”  I was so panicked, I wasn’t even sure where to begin.  I muttered, “Crap!” more than once and turned off the water.  Stop and think.  The sink’s full of ashes.  Ashes!  I’ll need to scoop it up.  Wait.  Some of it’s gone.  Gone?  Where’d it go?  Oh, crap.  Phyllis went down the drain!  This isn’t just regular old sink debris.  This is Phyllis!  This is Rob’s mother!

I ran to the toolbox, grabbed a wrench, and hoped the ashes hadn’t gone any further than the elbow trap under the sink.

I have an interview about studying Shakespeare with children on the Home School Heartbeat radio show this week (and it’s also on their website if you don’t receive their radio show in your area).

You can listen to the program or read the transcripts here:  http://www.hslda.org/docs/hshb/121/hshbwk1.asp

If anyone’s interested, you can view my blog posts about studying Shakespeare here:

Flash Fiction: Until Death

My daughter, Kelsey’s, latest foray into fiction:

Flash Fiction: Until Death.


My daughter and I went for a walk at a local park last week and I took a few photos just to document the change of the seasons.  Every season has its beauties.

There was something a little bit Monet-like about the algae on the pond. Almost looked like lily pads if you didn’t look too closely.


All of this summer’s baby ducks at the pond have grown up now.


I need to find a nice ripe blackberry bush. Yum!


The dock at the park is what’s being reflected in the pond. Almost looks like spider webs where you can see the wire from the railing.


The lines made from the cattails and the ripples were fun.


I love this one.  :)


Late summer at Mill Pond Park.  I love willows hanging over water.  So peaceful.


Walkways and railings and docks.


Hello, Mr. Crow.

PTSD sucks. Just sayin’.

I’ve discovered recently that when people think they need to tell me what to do with my life or nit-pick at me, it actually triggers my PTSD, and can bring on anxiety and panic attacks.

Even well meant “advice” has been triggering lately.

Why do people sometimes feel the need to argue every time they disagree or don’t fully understand something in someone else’s life? I honestly feel it’s not necessary to take people to task over every little thing. Can’t we all just agree to disagree agreeably?

I’ve spent the past couple of days fighting internal stress brought about by someone … who I know “meant well” … but they have no idea the amount of trauma I’ve suffered at the hands of “well-meaning” people who thought it was important to “correct” me or argue with me.

End of rant.

Back to deep breathing …


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